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Point Omega
 
 

Point Omega [Kindle Edition]

Don DeLillo
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Review

`Of all {DeLillo's} post-Underworld novels, Point Omega is the most interesting . . . One hundred and twenty-eight pages of theatrical, uncanny prose and its over.' --The Sunday Times

`The biggest news in literature this month is the arrival of a new novel from our favourite living American Don. Point Omega promises the usual furore of a literary event of massive global magnitude brilliant, slightly baffling (in a good way!) novel that's oddly sparse and airy but breathtakingly weighty at the same time. The really great bits of Point Omega read like the proclamations of an almost mystical being.'
--Dazed and Confused

`DeLillo is always great on the subject of film... His prose, with its stylised dialogue and minute attentiveness to effects of light, often seems to aspire to the condition of cinema, with the coolly jazzed cadences providing the score. These short sections of Point Omega, where the watcher meticulously observes his own and other people's reactions to the abstracted violence on the screen, are as sharp in their own right as you would expect. . . the handling is subtle and deft, and it works powerfully . . . The mystery itself is left hanging, but certain hints in the text, along with an elegant manipulation of the time-frame, permit a satisfying, even touching ending (though not a comforting one). It requires careful reading, but as with the man in the gallery, and as with every other aspect of this finely austere novel, the harder you look, the more you see.' --James Lasdun, Guardian

`The patient reader will uncover a devastating vein of disquiet running beneath its tomb-cool surface. As in his recent novel Falling Man, which dealt with the attacks of 9/11, DeLillo chooses to take an oblique approach to a topic that might be blinding if viewed straight on. Like a hidden picture in a bland canvas, Elster's desolation is difficult to make out at first. Once lodged in the mid, however, it is impossible to forget.' --Stephen Amidon, Sunday Times

`The brilliance of the book lies in DeLillo never once announcing that we are in Grand Theme territory. On the contrary, this unapologetic novel of ideas has its own stealthy logic . . Written in a style that is frugal, frequently staccato, yet also displaying great flashes of spare beauty, DeLillo's strange, haunting tale can be read as an extended meditation on the way we use the theoretical concepts and conceits as a bulwark against the sheer unknowingness of other people, let alone ourselves. . . . this being a DeLillo novel, there are no answers to the vast metaphysical dilemmas of temporal existence. There are only the sort of densely posited questions that take you to all sorts of challenging places where you have forgotten that fiction can actually take you.' --Douglas Kennedy, The Times

`No other contemporary American novelist writes as acutely as DeLillo about power and its corollary, violence . . . the high concepts about politics and art are seeded inot the story sinuously and the painterly rendering of the desert setting, with its `blinding tides of light and sky', imparts a wonderfully eerie atmosphere. The tone registers American relative decline, but DeLillo's powers show no sign of fading.' --Ludovic Hunter-Tilney, Financial Times

`another formidable construction by a very distinctive writer'
--Evening Standard

`This is an important, post-terrorism novel not just for DeLillo, but for US fiction...DeLillo, now 73, was always an original. He has always watched and listened, taken on popular culture, the environment, waste disposal, weaponry, cultural nuance, ethnic minorities and national paranoia. His characters represent the US on the run from itself, from Iraq, from a `now' weighted by history - the now that has always, since the publication of his debut Americana in 1971, preoccupied DonDe Lillo.'
--Irish Times

'I came to the end of Point Omega and immediately started it again, because I was uncertain of what I'd just encountered. I had failed to achieve a higher state of consciousness. I felt dizzy and perplexed, but also challenged and invigorated. Those are not unwelcome feelings and, I think, proportionate responses to this book and the times it describes.' --GQ

'This elusive novel will grow in resonance as the years pass, exposing an afflicted society struggling to see the wood for the trees.' --Time Out

*****
'...at his best DeLillo's prose is as lean and purposeful as Cormac McCarthy's, though in Point Omega the irony is that this extraordinary talent is in the service of the notion that "words are not necessary to one's experience of the true life". The main section flickers in focus but there is great tension in the uneasy contradictions and this open-ended fable of the imminent apocalypse is a significant late addition to DeLillo's work.'
--Metro

'Point Omega is all about duration. The title, of course, refers to the theologian Father Teilhard de Chardin's belief that there is a point of perfection that the universe will eventually achieve. This belief has inspired countless novels, mainly in the science-fiction field, and is also unusually popular with musicians and television drama writers. DeLillo challenges this by asking what happens if you retard progress and slow things down. . . There is a lot of comedy in Point Omega, but the glacial speed of the book deliberately removes the laughs. . . Point Omega is a treat: the most satisfying and least cryptic of DeLillo's late novels.' -- Matt Thorne, Sunday Telegraph

"DeLillo has a far broader purpose, as he always does; to present a world in which perception and reality are one, and to suggest ways to navigate it. He is almost along in the mainstream of American literature in ploughing this furrow, and his continued determination to do so borders on the heroic. This strange, slight, brittle fiction is a worthy addition to an extraordinary body of work." --Independent on Sunday

"Don DeLillo's 15th novel . . .[is] also his best for years" --Tim Martin, Daily Telegraph

"A strong story with a hint of menace raises questions about the mutability of time and whether a life can ever be properly captured in words or on film." --Daily Mail

"Spare, concentrated and severely thoughtful, this book is never going to be called a light read, but at only 117 pages long, it is a perfect, invigorating mental workout."
--Esquire

"Point Omega is a short book but one that demands very slow and attentive reading; followed by a re-reading. For, surprisingly, it's both a rarefied novel of ideas and also, albeit obliquely, a murder mystery." -- Scotsman

"Not a bad place for DeLillo virgins to start."
--The List

"Point Omega may be compact in size but it resonates with big ideas." --Tatler

"Point Omega is a thing of rare beauty. Exquisite sentence follows exquisite sentence, each of them demanding instant re-reading."
--Word Magazine

`DeLillo's vision has always been unusually sharp . . . His 16th novel is his most focused yet, a pared, intense anti-parable that begins in a New York art gallery . . . DeLillo's prose is so rigorous and so precise. This is a book that is as hypnotic, if sometimes baffling, as watching Gordon's hyper-slow Psycho. Both novel and film are a reminder that it's "impossible to see too much".' --Observer

`Small in size, but large in substance.'
--Hot Press

Review

"If "Underworld" was DeLillo's extravagant funeral for the twentieth century, "Point Omega" is the farewell party for the last decade.... DeLillo has .... written the first important novel of the year."--Michael Miller, "New York Observer"

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 170 KB
  • Print Length: 132 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 033051377X
  • Publisher: Picador (5 Mar 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003E1BGSM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #157,192 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Paul Bowes TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
'Point Omega' is the latest of a group of short novels or novellas that Don DeLillo has published since the appearance of the very long and much admired 'Underworld' in 1997 underlined his claim to be the best living American writer of prose fiction. All four books are short and sparely written; all are haunted by a sense of time running out.

In one reading 'Point Omega' is an existential thriller about a disappearance, perhaps a murder. In another, a warning about the dangers of looking into the abyss. In a third, it is a meditation on cultural and psychic exhaustion.

DeLillo takes an idea of Teilhard de Chardin's - the 'omega point' of absolute concentration of information and communication towards which de Chardin believed mankind was being drawn - and inverts it. The book presents an alternative to the view of technological optimists who believe in an evolution of human consciousness towards a 'singularity' - a takeoff point beyond which humanity will begin to transcend its limitations. In DeLillo's dark parable, complexity and selfconsciousness, ever-finer attention to ever-greater detail, ever-greater knowledge, lead over an event horizon into a black hole of solipsism and ultimate insignificance. For one of the central characters, human beings want to become stones again, giving up the burden of consciousness.

As a long-time admirer, I expected to enjoy 'Point Omega', but I hadn't expected it to be so good. The book is beautifully written, in what I suppose we are obliged to call DeLillo's late manner. There is nothing flashy here, and the opening section demands a little patience as the author conceals his intentions. But there is a plain continuity of thought with earlier novels - particularly 'End Zone' and 'The Names' - that makes it very much a part of DeLillo's distinctive artistic achievement. On this showing, 'late' DeLillo still has a lot to offer.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Omega point 30 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I often find DeLillo's work dull and hard to digest. Having read the blurb I expected an action-packed, fast-paced novel. I didn't get it. It was only when I was mulling over the book having finished it that I truly appreciated the message behind the work. I'd now rate this as my favourite DeLillo novel. Give it a go- if you don't like it then its so short that it doesn't really matter...
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3.0 out of 5 stars A Wrinkle in Time 5 Sep 2013
By J. Ang
Format:Paperback
Delillo, the master of clean, spare prose, tackles the difficult subject of time, mortality and the mystery of human relationships in this slim novella. Despite the brevity of the story, it is framed in three parts, which some critics have observed that it reads like the 3 lines of a haiku.

The first part details a nameless character who obsessively views a conceptual art installation called "24 hour Psycho", which is a deliberate slowing down of Hitchcock's film so that it spans 24 hours. To the unnamed viewer, "the original movie was fiction, this was real." The main story forms the second part, where a filmmaker, Jim Finley seeks out a retired war strategist or "defense intellectual" Elster, who has become a recluse in the middle of a desert, in order to persuade him to be the subject of a one-take bio-documentary that objectively tells it as it is. In the blankness of the landscape and uncontained space, the two men form an unusual bond that encompasses Elster's detached daughter, who is sent to her father's by her divorced mother as an attempt to set some distance between her and a dubious suitor. The story resolves, or rather, comes full circle when it reintroduces the anonymous viewer at the same exhibit, where inexplicably, only one day has passed since we last met the viewer, though there are telltale signs that the world of intermediate story intersects with this world, which confuses and enthralls at the same time. Is this part of the slowed down time or is Delillo pushing home the point that time is only relative to our experience?
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Point Omega 27 April 2010
Format:Hardcover
This short novel is up there with DeLillo's best. The sparse prose carries great philosophical weight and the author really does help you to see the world differently. He seems to get right inside human consciousness. He's also dryly funny, too.

Perhaps not the ideal DeLillo starting point, but a great book nonetheless.

I'm curious to know who else, if anyone, is writing at this level?
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Omega point 9 May 2010
Format:Hardcover
With each new work from Don DeLillo I find myself asking the same question - 'Is it as good as White Noise?' I realise that this is the wrong question to ask, and to frame my response in these terms seems faintly absurd. But I do it anyway.

Point Omega is DeLillo's fifteenth novel (or, perhaps, his first novella), and is not as good as White Noise. It is, however, an exhilarating performance, one that maintains the creative surge of Falling Man and one that is a vital addition to his oeuvre.

It's deceptively slight, but all of DeLillo's career-long preoccupations are present. I guess you could also say that it's about the Iraq war, and the long shadow this misadventure has cast. Richard Elster was the academic hired by the Pentagon to 'map the reality' the US government tried to create, to 'freshen the dialogue, broaden the viewpoint'. But Elster's story remains elusive - we never quite hear what has forced his retreat to the desert. But then perhaps we already know.

DeLillo's mastery of the language is also, as ever, a real joy - there is an extended riff on the shifting nature of 'rendition', moments where we are destabilised by his choice of words ('lighted' is preferred to 'lit'), and sentences you just wish you could have written yourself (random thoughts are described as 'small dull smears of meditative panic').
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Strange, unpredictable and addictive.
Although you could finish this book in a day (it's only 117 pages), it contains the same hauntingly real plots and characters that Delillo is famous for, and leaves you with a... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Definitely Omega, not Alpha
This is a terrible, terrible book: self-indulgent, pretentious, without meaning or explanation and largely without action or incident. Its sole plus point is its length. Read more
Published on 28 Jun 2012 by Simon Alexander Collier
4.0 out of 5 stars Very accessible
I sometimes struggle with Delillo's work, but Point Omega is relatively easy going and a pleasure to read (preferably twice). Read more
Published on 25 May 2012 by Matt
5.0 out of 5 stars Short, challenging and incredibly well written
On the title page the words "A Novel" follow on from "Point Omega". This seems an almost willful act of confrontation. Read more
Published on 27 Jun 2010 by Mingo Bingo
5.0 out of 5 stars Unlimited time.
Time is the leading thread of this novel. It tells how it affects people and how people are trying to manipulate Time. Read more
Published on 29 May 2010 by Jan Dierckx
2.0 out of 5 stars Pretty hard work
I read this book as a selection for a men's reading group I belong to. We don't just pick "masculine" themes or books written by men but we do try and tackle works by authors... Read more
Published on 17 May 2010 by Mr. Randy C. Barber
3.0 out of 5 stars Short but sweet
We never know what to expect next from the Delillo pen. And here he lives up to all expectations and gives us? The unexpected. Read more
Published on 25 Mar 2010 by Ian Edward
2.0 out of 5 stars Pointlessly depressing, hopeless and unpleasant
I was introduced to Don DeLillo's work over 20 years ago and have read all but a few of his books. Those that I've read have been either very good or great literature, the... Read more
Published on 17 Mar 2010 by Ant Man Bee
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Popular Highlights

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&quote;
The blur of technology, this is where the oracles plot their wars. Because now comes the introversion. Father Teilhard knew this, the omega point. A leap out of our biology. &quote;
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&quote;
Sometimes a thing that’s hard is hard because you’re doing it wrong. &quote;
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The true life is not reducible to words spoken or written, not by anyone, ever. &quote;
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